There is a sense that jazz as an art form is something that is stale and stagnant. Metta Quintet looks to challenge this conception of the genre through their Big Drum / Small World EP. This disc, which collects five distinct tracks, is the best way to familiarize oneself with the music and style of the act. Big Drum / Small World begins with From Here Onwards, an expansive effort that allows each component of the band ample opportunity to spread their wings.
The difficulty with these longer tracks (From Here Onwards is about six and a half minutes) is how an act can keep the minds and hearts of their listeners. I believe that continual modification of the main themes and genres touched is how the Metta Quintet do it. Furthermore, it is the unique interactions that exist due to the combinations of the band (piano, bass, tenor/soprano sax, alto sax, and drums) that ensure that a listener will stick through the entirety of Big Drum / Small World. Ba’Karem is the middle track, and these eight-plus minutes will firmly entrench listeners as fans of the bands. The richness of the arrangements is further highlighted through the technical virtuosity of the individual components, while the emotive content is ratcheted up to eleven.
Crabcakes things lively and fresh through the later part of the album. The disc’s final track, Summer Relief, ties the present and future recordings of the Metta Quintet together. This means that the band touches upon the rest of the album but also spins things in a bold new direction; we would love to hear where the band goes from here.
Top Tracks: From Here Onwards, Summer Relief
Metta Quintet – Big Drum / Small World (CD) / 2012 Jazzreach / 5 Tracks / http://www.jazzreach.org